Sunday, March 20, 2016

"Colossal" ☼ ☼ ☼

Andrew Hinderaker's "Colossal" attempts to break down barriers. The idea that a gay love story could take place between football players is not as outlandish as it once might have been. Conflating modern dance and football grace is perhaps a larger leap but not impossible to believe. But thinking that one football player, during a game, would hurl himself recklessly through the air simply to protect the man he loves from getting hurt is a bigger stretch.

Mike (Jason Stojanovski) is in a wheelchair now. It takes half the show to realize that Young Mike (Thomas Gorrebeeck) is really Pre-Injury Mike. Part of the reason is that Young Mike can be overbearing, probably compensating for being gay by acting extra-tough.

Meanwhile, Mike is in love with Marcus (Cameron Matthews). But Marcus has further football ambitions and is afraid to let his relationship with Mike become public. And after the injury he is nowhere to be found.

Matthews and the rest of the cast have well-developed upper bodies. Duly noted. They take their shirts off a lot.

Robert Parsons, one of our favorite local actors, plays Damon, Mike's Dad. The basic twist here is that Damon is said to be a world-class dancer. This Billy Elliot-in-reverse story cries out for development, but we get none. As a result, the ending, while touching from an acting standpoint, seems forced and incomplete.

Mike's physical rehabilitation specialist, Jerry (played by Wiley Naman Strasser) has a more detailed relationship with Mike. Jerry and Mike share the show's more intimate moments.

For us, the idea of "Colossal" is fascinating. But it is disjointed. So far, as a play, the main characters really need beefing up.

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Colossal" Three Stars. The production itself is eye-catching, especially the "pre-game show" and musical cues. There is plenty of flash, but we want to know more. We feel like we only got to halftime.

San Francisco Playhouse
450 Post Street, San Francisco
Second Floor, Kensington Park Hotel
Through April 30

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